iPhone Art Takes Center Stage in Bliss Hall Gallery

Photo by Gabrielle Fellows/ The Jambar

With the development of smart phones that possess more technology than the first computer and offer a variety of high quality of camera settings, many begin to wonder when the lines of professional photography will bleed into the realm of the cell phone. Currently, there is an exhibit being shown in Solomon Gallery by David Hume Kennerly that takes that idea into a whole new level.

Kennerly is an American photographer and photojournalist.  He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1972 for his photographs taken of the Vietnam War, East Pakistani refugees near Calcutta, Cambodia and the Ali-Frazier fight in Madison Square Garden in March of 1971. He has done the photography for every American president since Richard Nixon and has been featured on the likes of Time and Newsweek magazines.

The exhibit features 40 signed photographs that Kennerly took with his iPhone and had donated to Youngstown State University. He wishes to sell them in order to establish the David Hume Kennerly Endowed Scholarship in Art that is meant to be given to a photography student.

Stephen Chalmers, a professor of photography at YSU, explained that the exhibit came to the school after Kennerly visited the university with Ed O’Neill, the actor most well known for his role in “Married… with Children.”

“Kennerly, a friend of Ed O’Neill’s, accompanied Mr. O’Neill when he was awarded an honorary doctorate from YSU and served as the commencement speaker in the spring of 2013,” Chalmers said. “The visit to Youngstown State University had an impact on Kennerly. During conversations with him, he generously offered to donate fifty-three photographs to sell in support of establishing the David Hume Kennerly Endowed Scholarship in Art. Of the 53 signed photographs that Mr. Kennerly donated, 40 are framed and exhibited in the Solomon Gallery on the Wick … side of Bliss Hall.”
Many photographers and art critics alike agree that the use of smartphones in photography is something that is becoming more commonplace and has earned overall acceptance.

Maegan Bellino, a YSU photography graduate of 2012, said that she believes the technology of phone cameras is a great asset to the modern photographer.

“When I don’t have my DSLR [camera] on me, my phone takes all my pictures. I don’t feel a rivalry between cell phone photography [and camera photography],” Bellino said. “When it all boils down, it’s the person who’s creating the image, not the camera.”

Kennerly’s exhibit is one that proves that the modern day photographer can be successful with both a camera and a phone.

Although the exhibit is an inspiration for the photography students that will be competing for the Kennerly scholarship, Chalmers said that the event is one of appreciation and recognition.

“The event is intended to create a scholarship for photography students, [but] we also feel that it is a celebration to honor the spectacular career and accomplishments of Mr. Kennerly,” Chalmers said.